I had a future vision of Bryher, my youngest daughter, whilst stopped off at Exeter services, en route back from a meeting in Bristol.
A girl with long, dark hair was queuing up. She was wearing leggings, Doc Martens, a pink tutu, a bright blue hoodie and a bobble hat with ear-flaps. And lashings of eye-liner.
The three-year-old I dropped off at nursery this morning was wearing her bright purple Happy Days polo shirt, with a strappy sun dress over the top, teamed with flowery leggings and purple snow boots.
She was also clutching her cuddly Yoda. Which puzzles most of the nursery staff, apart from the 40-something male deputy manager, who loves chatting Star Wars with Bryher.
Her favourite film is currently Return of the Jedi, mostly for the ewoks. My husband had her whipped up in all the frenzy for the release of the Force Awakens. Except she doesn’t call it Star Wars, she calls it Star Horse. Which sounds completely different when she is shouting it as we go round Tescos…. “Star Hooooooooorse”.
Although I don’t think she really follows the plot yet.
“Darth Vader is a nice man, mummy. He’s ever so smart”. Erm.
I didn’t know parenting girls was going to be like this, but I love it. Nothing prepared me for how individual they could be.
I had a ridiculously long latent phase of labour with Olivia, now 5. It took three days and three nights until I persuaded the birthing centre at Penrice, St Austell to take me in.
I was convinced I was having a boy (we didn’t find out) and when Olivia finally arrived by emergency c-section at 7pm on the Monday night, amongst the exhaustion I thought “YAY! A GIRL! Shopping! Lunches! Spa days”.
They do love a faux spa day at their Granno’s house. I can’t say they are as relaxing as a day at the Scarlet, and I tend to have more nail varnish on my toes rather than my toenails, thanks to the deft work of my pint-sized manicurist.
But what I love just as much is seeing how individual they are. Bryher is as wild and beautiful as the island she is named after. Quirky, brave and creative.
Olivia (or Liv to her nearest and dearest) is a bundle of nervous energy with wild blonde curls and blue eyes. She is kind and sensitive, bright and ready for school in terms of learning, but in so many ways not ready for it emotionally. Most mornings I have to peel her off my legs and coerce her into the classroom.
I feel my role as a parent is to protect their individuality as they grow up, and support them in becoming the best versions of themselves they can be. And I’m hoping they can do the same for me.